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Places to Camp near Carlsbad Caverns, NM

The desert city of Carlsbad, NM, is near a national park by the same name and boasts the third largest cave chambers in the United States. It’s also where some of the best camping in New Mexico is located. Whether you pitch a tent or stay in a cabin to enjoy the stunning desert sunset, camping near Carlsbad Caverns National Park is an unforgettable experience. Rattlesnake Canyon is aptly named and a great place for primitive campers ready for a backcountry adventure. Stop by Rattlesnake Springs to see desert reptiles. The wetland also brings in hundreds of birds. RV campsites are also an option for your trip to the caverns.

Best Camping Sites Near Carlsbad Caverns, NM (32)

    Camper-submitted photo from Mile 10 - Dispersed Camping
    Camper-submitted photo from Mile 10 - Dispersed Camping
    Camper-submitted photo from Mile 10 - Dispersed Camping
    Camper-submitted photo from Mile 10 - Dispersed Camping
    Camper-submitted photo from Mile 10 - Dispersed Camping
    Camper-submitted photo from Mile 10 - Dispersed Camping
    Camper-submitted photo from Carlsbad RV Park & Campground
    Camper-submitted photo from Carlsbad RV Park & Campground
    Camper-submitted photo from Carlsbad RV Park & Campground
    Camper-submitted photo from Carlsbad RV Park & Campground
    Camper-submitted photo from Carlsbad RV Park & Campground
    Camper-submitted photo from Carlsbad RV Park & Campground

    2.

    Carlsbad RV Park & Campground

    34 Reviews
    59 Photos
    94 Saves
    Carlsbad, New Mexico
    • Pets
    • Fires
    • Electric Hookups
    • Phone Service
    • Reservable
    • ADA Access
    Camper-submitted photo from Pine Springs Campground — Guadalupe Mountains National Park
    Camper-submitted photo from Pine Springs Campground — Guadalupe Mountains National Park
    Camper-submitted photo from Pine Springs Campground — Guadalupe Mountains National Park
    Camper-submitted photo from Pine Springs Campground — Guadalupe Mountains National Park
    Camper-submitted photo from Pine Springs Campground — Guadalupe Mountains National Park
    Camper-submitted photo from Pine Springs Campground — Guadalupe Mountains National Park

    3.

    Pine Springs Campground — Guadalupe Mountains National Park

    44 Reviews
    138 Photos
    162 Saves
    Salt Flat, Texas

    Overview

    The Pine Springs RV campground is not a traditional campground. Be aware, this is a paved parking lot. The area shares a popular and busy trailhead accessing four major trails. The area is frequently congested with day use hikers searching for available parking and with foot traffic from overflow parking areas. Before booking a reservation: It is your responsibility to review all (Site Details, Allowable Equipment, Allowable Vehicle/Driveway and Need to Know) for the individual campsite. Failing to do so may result in being prohibited from occupying the site upon your arrival. Refunds are not provided by the park. Pine Springs Campground is located near the Pine Springs Visitor Center, just off U.S. 62/180 and at an elevation of 5,730 feet.____ The location offers great hiker access to the Guadalupe Mountains National Park trail system.____ The campground is situated at the opening to the Pine Springs Canyon with spectacular views of the world___s best example of a fossil reef and of the vast Permian Basin to the east.____ The campground is open year-round and is busiest, March-May and September-November. High winds with over 50 mph gusts are common, especially during winter and spring.__

    Recreation

    The Pine Springs Trailhead includes access to many different types of hikes. Hikes to Guadalupe Peak or the Bowl are strenuous, 8-9 miles, and have 2500-3000 feet of elevation gain. Another strenuous hike is the Devil___s Hall Trail (4.2 miles round-trip, 500 feet elevation gain, __ of the trail in a rocky, uneven wash which includes route-finding and boldering skills). For a more moderate hike consider the the Frijole/Foothills Trail. The El Capitan Trail offers excellent open views of the surrounding desert and close approaches to the cliff face of El Capitan. Because of its distance, lack of shade, some primitive route travel, and numerous elevation changes, this trail is best saved for cooler times of year and for people with experience in route-finding.__ The ruins of a Butterfield stage station, called the Pinery are next to the highway, and a short, paved nature trail connects the visitor center and the historic site.__ The Frijole Ranch & History Museum is 1.5 miles away. The grounds are always open, but the museum is staffed intermittently. Seven miles to the east on Hwy 62/180 is McKittrick Canyon. This area offers three trails, the McKittrick Canyon Nature Trail (0.9 miles loop), McKittrick Canyon Trail (4.8 miles round-trip to Pratt Cabin or 6.8 miles round-trip to the Grotto) and the Permian Reef Trail (8.4 miles round-trip, for serious geology buffs).

    Facilities

    The Pine Springs Trailhead includes access to many different types of hikes. Hikes to Guadalupe Peak or the Bowl are strenuous, 8-9 miles, and have 2500-3000 feet of elevation gain. Another strenuous hike is the Devil___s Hall Trail (4.2 miles round-trip, 500 feet elevation gain, __ of the trail in a rocky, uneven wash which includes route-finding and boldering skills). For a more moderate hike consider the the Frijole/Foothills Trail. The El Capitan Trail offers excellent open views of the surrounding desert and close approaches to the cliff face of El Capitan. Because of its distance, lack of shade, some primitive route travel, and numerous elevation changes, this trail is best saved for cooler times of year and for people with experience in route-finding.__ The ruins of a Butterfield stage station, called the Pinery are next to the highway, and a short, paved nature trail connects the visitor center and the historic site.__ The Frijole Ranch & History Museum is 1.5 miles away. The grounds are always open, but the museum is staffed intermittently. Seven miles to the east on Hwy 62/180 is McKittrick Canyon. This area offers three trails, the McKittrick Canyon Nature Trail (0.9 miles loop), McKittrick Canyon Trail (4.8 miles round-trip to Pratt Cabin or 6.8 miles round-trip to the Grotto) and the Permian Reef Trail (8.4 miles round-trip, for serious geology buffs).

    Natural Features

    The Pine Springs Campground is in an area with small, scattered trees, shrubs, and grasses. Trees include gray oaks and alligator junipers, which cast partial shade at some sites. Texas madrones, bigtooth maples, chinquapin oaks, and ponderosa pines become more common along the canyon floor. Higher elevations include Douglas fir and hop-hornbeam. Shrubs include whitethorn acacia, Mexican orange, Apache plume, sumacs, and algerita. Desert-adapted plants also occur in this area, and include prickly pear cactus, New Mexico agave, sotols, and soaptree yuccas. Hunter Peak and cross-sectional views of the Capitan reef are visible from the campground. Roadside pullouts (one mile and four miles away) provide excellent views of El Capitan. Hiking into Pine Springs canyon or along the foothills reveals Guadalupe Peak. The Guadalupe Peak trail ascends to the highest point in Texas and offers excellent views of the surrounding desert. Birds commonly seen and/or heard around the campground can include Canyon towhees, turkey vultures, white-winged doves, common ravens, chipping sparrows, Say___s phoebes, common poorwills, and phainopeplas depending on the season. Night sky visibility is excellent and nearly pristine directly overhead, to the south, and the southwest. Nearby high ridges and peaks are situated to the west and north.

    Nearby Attractions

    Carlsbad Caverns National Park: In addition to a variety of cave tours, the national park also offers hiking trails and a scenic drive. Rattlesnake Springs and Slaughter Canyon, part of Carlsbad Caverns are nearer attractions for day use activities. Birding is excellent at Rattlesnake Springs. Lincoln National Forest: The Guadalupe District of the Lincoln National Forest is located just over the state line, north of the national park. Road access is through New Mexico, north of White___s City, via Dark Canyon Road to NM SR 137 through Queen (also the way to the national park___s Dog Canyon). The forest provides for various camping, hiking, caving, hunting, and picnicking opportunities. Sitting Bull Falls is a nice waterfall and picnic area in the Lincoln National Forest. Five Point Vista is a glorious ridge road ride of the area, closer to Dog Canyon. Fort Davis National Historic Site and State Park: Fort Davis is one of the best surviving examples of an Indian Wars' frontier military post in the Southwest. From 1854 to 1891, Fort Davis was strategically located to protect emigrants, mail coaches, and freight wagons on the Trans-Pecos portion of the San Antonio-El Paso Road and on the Chihuahua Trail. This is located about 2.5 hours south of the park. A state park is located nearby with camping and a scenic drive. Also located in Fort Davis is McDonald Observatory with several programs available. White Sands National Park: Rising from the heart of the Tularosa Basin is one of the world's great natural wonders - the glistening white sands of New Mexico. Great wave-like dunes of gypsum sand have engulfed 275 square miles of desert, creating the world's largest gypsum dunefield. White Sands National Park preserves a major portion of this unique dunefield, along with the plants and animals that live here. Hueco Tanks State Park & Historic Site: Hueco Tanks State Park is located on the east side of El Paso, about an hour and a half from the Guadalupes. At Hueco Tanks, you can hike, rock climb, bird watch, study nature and history, picnic and stargaze. Visitors can take guided and self-guided tours to view rock imagery.

    Charges & Cancellations

    Individual Site: A $10.00 service fee will apply if you modify your reservation or change your stay dates. Cancelling your reservation prior to 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time two nights before your stay will incur a $10.00 cancellation fee. Camping reservations cancelled the day before and day of arrival incur a $10 cancellation fee and forfeit the first night's use fee. If you need to cancel or modify your reservation, you must do so through Recreation.gov. Group Site: Customers who cancel a group overnight reservation less than 14 days before the arrival date will pay a $10.00 service fee & forfeit the first night's use fee.

    • Pets
    • Phone Service
    • RVs
    • Tents
    • Group
    • Standard (Tent/RV)

    $60 / night

    Camper-submitted photo from Carlsbad BLM Land Dispersed
    Camper-submitted photo from Carlsbad BLM Land Dispersed
    Camper-submitted photo from Carlsbad BLM Land Dispersed
    Camper-submitted photo from Carlsbad BLM Land Dispersed
    Camper-submitted photo from Carlsbad BLM Land Dispersed
    Camper-submitted photo from Carlsbad BLM Land Dispersed
    Camper-submitted photo from Whites City RV Park
    Camper-submitted photo from Whites City RV Park
    Camper-submitted photo from Whites City RV Park
    Camper-submitted photo from Whites City RV Park
    Camper-submitted photo from Whites City RV Park
    Camper-submitted photo from Whites City RV Park

    5.

    Whites City RV Park

    20 Reviews
    16 Photos
    60 Saves
    Whites City, New Mexico
    • Pets
    • Fires
    • Electric Hookups
    • Phone Service
    • Reservable
    • RVs

    $20 - $45 / night

    Camper-submitted photo from Carlsbad KOA
    Camper-submitted photo from Carlsbad KOA
    Camper-submitted photo from Carlsbad KOA
    Camper-submitted photo from Carlsbad KOA
    Camper-submitted photo from Carlsbad KOA
    Camper-submitted photo from Carlsbad KOA

    6.

    Carlsbad KOA

    38 Reviews
    54 Photos
    117 Saves
    Carlsbad, New Mexico

    From the KOA website: Kick back with family and friends at this beautiful desert oasis built in 2000. This award-winning KOA is big rig friendly: All sites are huge 30/50-amp pull thrus with free Wi-Fi and free cable TV. The staff will spoil you as you enjoy the 2,000-square-foot community room, meals delivered to your site, a beautiful commercial laundry, outstanding restrooms, a fenced dog park and a heated pool. From this KOA in the heart of SE New Mexico, visit Carlsbad Caverns, Living Desert Zoo & Gardens State Park, Sitting Bull Falls Recreation Area, Roswell's International UFO Museum and White Sands National Monument. Check out the Robert H. Goddard rocket collection at the Roswell Museum and Art Center and the "Billy the Kid" history at the campground. A horse hotel also is available. See how this KOA is going green with the help of a wind turbine. Pool: March 15 - October 15. Max pull thru: 75 feet. Your hosts: Scott, Susan and Brian Bacher.

    • Pets
    • Fires
    • Electric Hookups
    • Phone Service
    • Reservable
    • ADA Access
    Camper-submitted photo from Brantley Lake State Park Campground
    Camper-submitted photo from Brantley Lake State Park Campground
    Camper-submitted photo from Brantley Lake State Park Campground
    Camper-submitted photo from Brantley Lake State Park Campground
    Camper-submitted photo from Brantley Lake State Park Campground
    Camper-submitted photo from Brantley Lake State Park Campground

    7.

    Brantley Lake State Park Campground

    30 Reviews
    67 Photos
    149 Saves
    Carlsbad, New Mexico

    Located twelve miles North of Carlsbad, NM, the park offers boating, kayaking, canoeing, fishing, hiking trails, exceptional bird watching, developed and primitive campsites and restrooms with showers. Whether you’re picnicking for the day, or camping in your RV for a week, you’ll be sure to find adventure at Brantley Lake State Park!

    • Pets
    • Fires
    • Electric Hookups
    • Phone Service
    • Reservable
    • ADA Access

    $8 - $18 / night

    Camper-submitted photo from Dark Canyon Dispersed
    Camper-submitted photo from Dark Canyon Dispersed
    Camper-submitted photo from Dark Canyon Dispersed
    Camper-submitted photo from Dark Canyon Dispersed
    Camper-submitted photo from Dark Canyon Dispersed
    Camper-submitted photo from Dark Canyon Dispersed
    Camper-submitted photo from Parks Ranch Campground
    Camper-submitted photo from Parks Ranch Campground
    Camper-submitted photo from Parks Ranch Campground
    Camper-submitted photo from Parks Ranch Campground
    Camper-submitted photo from Parks Ranch Campground
    Camper-submitted photo from Parks Ranch Campground

    9.

    Parks Ranch Campground

    6 Reviews
    35 Photos
    132 Saves
    Whites City, New Mexico

    Dispersed camp sites are located along most secondary roads and may not be marked. Popular locations can be recognized by the telltale flat disturbed area that has been used as a camp site before. Not all flat spots are sites. If possible, please use existing sites to avoid creating new disturbances. To further protect your public lands, campers must not dispose of any refuse, hazardous materials, sewage, or in any manner pollute the surrounding area.

    States may have additional requirements or restrictions for dispersed camping. Please see Regional Information before planning your trip.

    • Pets
    • Fires
    • Phone Service
    • RVs
    • Tents
    • Group
    Camper-submitted photo from Dog Canyon Campground — Guadalupe Mountains National Park
    Camper-submitted photo from Dog Canyon Campground — Guadalupe Mountains National Park
    Camper-submitted photo from Dog Canyon Campground — Guadalupe Mountains National Park
    Camper-submitted photo from Dog Canyon Campground — Guadalupe Mountains National Park
    Camper-submitted photo from Dog Canyon Campground — Guadalupe Mountains National Park
    Camper-submitted photo from Dog Canyon Campground — Guadalupe Mountains National Park

    10.

    Dog Canyon Campground — Guadalupe Mountains National Park

    14 Reviews
    68 Photos
    14 Saves
    Dell City, Texas

    Overview

    Dog Canyon is a 70-mile drive from the nearest town of Carlsbad, New Mexico and is 110 miles from the Pine Spring Visitor Center & Campground (a 2 hour drive time). Before booking a reservation: It is your responsibility to review all (Site Details, Allowable Equipment, Allowable Vehicle/Driveway and Need to Know) for the individual campsite. Failing to do so may result in being prohibited from occupying the site upon your arrival. Refunds are not provided by the park. Dog Canyon Campground lies in the secluded, forested canyon on the north side of Guadalupe Mountains National Park at an elevation of 6,300 feet. It is located at the end of NM Hwy. 137 (Queen Highway). This quiet location is great for relaxing, wildlife watching and hiking.____ The campground is open year-round and is busiest, March-May and September-November.

    Recreation

    Trails from Dog Canyon offer good access, with relatively easy grades, to the high country of Guadalupe Mountains National Park.__ The hike to Lost Peak is 6.4 miles round-trip, is considered strenuos and has 1500___ elevation gain.__ The hike to Marcus Overlook is 4.5 miles round-trip, is considered moderate with an 800' elevation gain.__ The Indian Meadow Nature Trail near the campground is 0.6 miles and winds around a grassy area surrounded by a mix of broadleaved evergreens, deciduous trees, and pines.

    Facilities

    Trails from Dog Canyon offer good access, with relatively easy grades, to the high country of Guadalupe Mountains National Park.__ The hike to Lost Peak is 6.4 miles round-trip, is considered strenuos and has 1500___ elevation gain.__ The hike to Marcus Overlook is 4.5 miles round-trip, is considered moderate with an 800' elevation gain.__ The Indian Meadow Nature Trail near the campground is 0.6 miles and winds around a grassy area surrounded by a mix of broadleaved evergreens, deciduous trees, and pines.

    Natural Features

    The Dog Canyon Campground is in an area with wooded drainages, meadows, and grassy hillsides and sparsely vegetated outcrops. Large alligator junipers, oaks, maples, madrones, pi__on and ponderosa pine are in and near the campground. Shrubs include ceanothus, sumacs, mahonia, and mountain mahogany. Desert-adapted plants include a variety of prickly pear cactus, agave, and chollas. Western scrub jays, acorn woodpeckers, and a variety of hummingbirds frequent the area. Mule deer are commonly seen. Algerita ridge casts morning shade, and cool mountain air settles in the canyon bottom nightly. Daytime highs are similar to the Pine Springs area, but nighttime lows can be much cooler. Views of the night sky are pristine. During the Permian Period, shallow marine water that was behind the Capitan Reef, created a series of layers of limestone and sandstone. Faulting and subsequent erosion created the canyon. Nearby topographic features include Lost Peak, Blue Ridge, West Dog Canyon, and the Brokeoff and Cutoff Mountains.

    contact_info

    This location has limited staffing. Please call (915) 828-3251 for general information.

    Nearby Attractions

    Carlsbad Caverns National Park: In addition to a variety of cave tours, the national park also offers hiking trails and a scenic drive. Rattlesnake Springs and Slaughter Canyon, part of Carlsbad Caverns are nearer attractions for day use activities. Birding is excellent at Rattlesnake Springs. Lincoln National Forest: The Guadalupe District of the Lincoln National Forest is located just over the state line, north of the national park. Road access is through New Mexico, north of White___s City, via Dark Canyon Road to NM SR 137 through Queen (also the way to the national park___s Dog Canyon). The forest provides for various camping, hiking, caving, hunting, and picnicking opportunities. Sitting Bull Falls is a nice waterfall and picnic area in the Lincoln National Forest. Five Point Vista is a glorious ridge road ride of the area, closer to Dog Canyon. Fort Davis National Historic Site and State Park: Fort Davis is one of the best surviving examples of an Indian Wars' frontier military post in the Southwest. From 1854 to 1891, Fort Davis was strategically located to protect emigrants, mail coaches, and freight wagons on the Trans-Pecos portion of the San Antonio-El Paso Road and on the Chihuahua Trail. This is located about 2.5 hours south of the park. A state park is located nearby with camping and a scenic drive. Also located in Fort Davis is McDonald Observatory with several programs available. White Sands National Park: Rising from the heart of the Tularosa Basin is one of the world's great natural wonders - the glistening white sands of New Mexico. Great wave-like dunes of gypsum sand have engulfed 275 square miles of desert, creating the world's largest gypsum dunefield. White Sands National Park preserves a major portion of this unique dunefield, along with the plants and animals that live here. Hueco Tanks State Park & Historic Site: Hueco Tanks State Park is located on the east side of El Paso, about an hour and a half from the Guadalupes. At Hueco Tanks, you can hike, rock climb, bird watch, study nature and history, picnic and stargaze. Visitors can take guided and self-guided tours to view rock imagery.

    Charges & Cancellations

    Individual Site: A $10.00 service fee will apply if you modify your reservation or change your stay dates. Cancelling your reservation prior to 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time two nights before your stay will incur a $10.00 cancellation fee.__Camping reservations cancelled the day before and day of arrival incur a $10 cancellation fee and forfeit the first night's use fee. If you need to cancel or modify your reservation, you must do so through Recreation.gov. Group Site: Customers who cancel a group overnight reservation less than 14 days before the arrival date will pay a $10.00 service fee & forfeit the first night's use fee.

    • Pets
    • RVs
    • Tents
    • Group
    • Equestrian
    • Standard (Tent/RV)

    $60 / night

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384 Reviews of 32 Carlsbad Caverns Campgrounds